Olympian Erin Jackson to fly with Thunderbirds during Grad Week celebrations for Academy Class of 2022 Published May 20, 2022 U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – The U.S. Air Force Academy has invited 2022 Olympic gold medal-winning speed-skater Erin Jackson to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds on May 24 over Colorado Springs. The mid-morning flight originates from Peterson Space Force Base. Following her flight, Jackson will visit with Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark and congratulate Cadets from the Class of 2022 at the Academy on becoming new officers in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force. Jackson is a native of Ocala, Florida and is the first black woman in history to win an Olympic Gold Medal in the sport of speed-skating. She first began ice skating in 2017, earned a spot on her first Olympic Team in 2018 and then climbed international ranks before becoming the Olympic Champion at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Inviting a stand-out Olympian for a Thunderbird graduation flight began in 2019 with Mikaela Shiffrin and reinforces the collaborative relationship between the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Museum while highlighting Colorado Springs’ Olympic City USA brand.